We’ve become aware of some hospital discharge situations that raised a significant element of concern relative to the ability of the discharged patient to select the nursing or rehabilitation facility of their choice. In two recent examples, patients were told that the facility to which they wanted to go and with which they were familiar had “no available beds.” This was not true, as the facilities did have available beds and every morning those facilities contacted the hospitals stating their bed availability. Another patient — not in a position for himself to decide — had two hours for his family to choose the hospital-offered facility that was not convenient for the patient’s family and also was a low-rated Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services facility (two stars out of a five-star rating system). What to do? Trust and verify. Call the facility you want yourself to verify bed availability and its acceptance of your insurance coverage. All the more reason to be familiar with long-term care facilities in your area in the event of a need for their services. Federal law requires that hospitals have a process to identify and plan for Medicare patients’ needs after they are discharged. This discharge will occur when you no longer have a need for inpatient care and are able to go home or have a need for another type of facility. That might be a nursing facility for long term care needs or for rehabilitation services. The secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is charged with...